Driver of Jeep injured after rollover accident, fire

A motorist was injured after a rollover and fire at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11 on I-635 northbound near 34th Street in Kansas City, Kan.

The driver of a Jeep Wrangler, a 38-year-old woman from North Kansas City, Mo., was injured and taken to a hospital after the accident, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper’s report.

The woman was traveling northbound on I-635 at a high rate of speed when she lost control and struck the inside concrete barrier wall, the trooper’s report stated. She then entered another lane and struck a Kenworth truck pulling a trailer.

The Jeep then rolled onto its top, catching fire, according to the trooper’s report.

The driver of the truck, a 51-year-old man from Duluth, Minn., was not injured, according to the report.

Early signs show promise for Rainbow Mental Health Facility, officials say

by Mike Sherry, Hale Center for Journalism
A reconstituted mental health facility in Kansas City, Kan., has been a financial and therapeutic success in its first five months of operation, officials involved in the transition said Wednesday.

“It’s great news so far,” said Kari Bruffett, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, “and I think it’s only going to get better.”

Bruffett spoke to a group of about 30 people gathered at the Rainbow Mental Health Facility, which reopened in April as a collaboration between the state and mental health/substance abuse providers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

According to data presented at the briefing, the new Rainbow has served nearly 560 clients, including some more than once. Officials also estimate the facility has saved more than $2 million by diverting patients from Osawatomie State Hospital or hospital emergency rooms.

Once a 50-bed inpatient hospital operated by the state, Rainbow now has a 30-person capacity split equally between a short-term sobering area, an observation station designed for a maximum stay of 23 hours and a crisis-stabilization section for maximum stays of 10 days.

Wyandot Inc., a family of organizations in Kansas City, Kan., that includes a community mental health center, is operating the new center under a three-year contract with KDADS worth $3.5 million annually.

In announcing the new arrangement earlier this year, state officials said spending on the new Rainbow equaled its previous budget when also taking into account inpatient dollars the state has shifted from Rainbow to Osawatomie.

Reopening Rainbow this spring culminated a lengthy process, which began in the fall of 2011 when the state shifted the beds to Osawatomie after authorities cited fire-safety concerns with the facility.

Year-over-year data provided at the briefing also showed that:

• Osawatomie State Hospital has had fewer admissions from the Rainbow service area since the facility opened, with the largest decrease of 42.4 percent coming in June.

• Clients from the Rainbow area have logged 900 fewer bed days at Osawatomie from April through August this year compared with the same period last year.

• Based on information gathered during intake, the emergency room would have been the alternative for about half of the patients served at Rainbow.

Despite the decrease in admissions from the Rainbow service area, Osawatomie has been over capacity several times in recent months, setting a 10-year high of 258 patients on Aug. 26.

One item on the wish list for Rainbow is the capacity to serve clients who are so intoxicated that they need medical attention, said Wyandot Inc. CEO Randy Callstrom.

Officer Thomas Keary of the Overland Park Police Department, who attended the briefing, said Rainbow proved its worth during a call in June involving a male who was drunk and suicidal.

Without Rainbow, Keary said, his best alternative would probably have been an emergency room where he would have had to spend at least two hours.

At Rainbow, he said, “I was in and out of the door in 13 minutes.”

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Food truck allowed in downtown KCK today

The Downtown Shareholders’ plan to have a food truck lunch downtown today went to a vote of the Unified Government Commission on Thursday night.

The plan was approved, 7-1, for a food truck from Indios Carbonsitos to be located from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, Sept. 12, in the parking lot across from the Hilton Garden Inn at 5th and Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kan.

The Downtown Shareholders have three special events planned with food trucks, and have had to change the location from near Huron Park to the parking lot at 5th and Minnesota, according to the UG.

Commissioner Gayle Townsend of the 1st District voted against the effort after asking questions about the food truck’s effect on the nearby restaurants, including one inside the Hilton Garden Inn, and also about the need for parking space in that parking lot with conventions taking place. A religious convention was there this week.

She was in favor of discussing this issue more at the standing committee level.

Mayor Mark Holland remarked that he looked at food trucks as similar issues to carports and the third dog that people want. He said there could be a better way than bringing a food truck issue to the commission every time someone wants one.

He suggested finding out the best practices, adopting a policy and letting the UG staff decide on future food truck requests.